The month of June found our home filled with our three grandchildren.  The fun part is that they are very willing to put down electronics and play board games which their Grandmother adores.  I love Scrabble and long for someone to play this game with me.  When they suggested it I was in heaven!

Their favorite board game I believe is LIFE.  Oh the gales of laughter especially if Grandpapa plays.  It is also fun if we go around with no children or like the last time when our youngest had 4 children and was hysterically frightened he might spin for more.

The other game that is a big hit is an old family favorite and until he learned RISK, Monopoly was the youngest go to game.  Well until he lost last time.

The trivia about Monopoly being based on Atlantic City is common knowledge.  I am not sure that anyone can relate to the thrill of driving on those streets.  The first time I was in Atlantic City and Ventnor and Pacific and Baltic and States Avenue and New York all came to life I was enchanted.  These places are real.

Today I got an added piece of Monopoly Trivia in my inbox thanks to one of my high school classmates.  Thanks Dean!  As an aside I have to share how energized and happy I am that our class is still much in touch with each other on a regular basis not just at the 5 year reunions.   Perhaps coming from a small town with only 41 students in the class makes a difference.  I am not sure of this as I think we all generally simply like each other!

So to the Monopoly Trivia that was new to me this morning.  I am presenting it as Dean sent it and since I did not write it nor can verify who did I have listed several links to the same information.  It really is a fascinating read!  Enjoy………………

Monopoly – I Did Not Know This!

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape…

Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’ where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America ‘s OSS ) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd.  When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly.  As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category of item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany , Italy , France or where ever Allied POW camps were located.   When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.

As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:

1.     A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass

2.     A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together

3.     Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their  first  mission, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set — by means  of a tiny  red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking  square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.   Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.

The story wasn’t declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were  finally honored in a public  ceremony.

It’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card!

I realize that many of you are (probably) too young to have any personal connection to WWII (Dec. ’41 to Aug. ’45), but this is still an interesting bit of history.




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